20060629

symantec means "bad incarnation"

i was sitting here trying to figure out how best for me to process the idea of "incarnation." when, just like that, God gave me the perfect example - now, the example is not in the form of what it means to be incarnational; it is actually in the form of what it means be "non-incarnational" but i think i can turn it around to explain what i mean. but first, the beginning of the story:

i was sitting in my home office the other day, working on my lap when some ad keep popping up. this was impossible, my system is protected and i have all the live updates to keep it current. in any case, there was a "thing" in my system and it was driving me crazy. i was ok, i figured i had symantec's "norton internet security;" you know the one with the virus stuff, pop-up stuff, spam stuff the whole nine yards. after all, i paid a pretty penny for it too; we have five computers in the house [three lap and two tower] and all of them have it, and all are set for live updates. so why the problem? i am not sure, while i do not what to get into the quality of the product, i will let others speak to that, i desire to speak to the quality of what symantec calls "customer relations" and "tech support" because they showed me the elements of what it means to be discounted to people, to be "non-incarnational."

you see the church is much like symantec's customer relations and tech support, they are not listening to the voices around them; they have disconnected from the people; they have become their own best listeners. they are hearing their own voices on how good things are going, but they are not hearing the voices of others. you see, the way i see being incarnational one must be willing to be real at any cost; listen to the needs and desires of others; seek out what it means to be connected; while having a heart for change.

being real:
in my dealings with symantec tech support i have to say they were not very real. i dealt with guys [males] named "blessings james" and "smith robertson" and "james west." now, there is something very "not real" about dealing with a man with an indian accent who tells you his name is "james west" or "blessings james." for some reason, my "are your being real" radar pops on, and my trust level falls way down. it is hard to trust a man you feel is lying about his name.

i know his name is not "blessings" and when i ask for his real name all i get is "my name is blessings, my parents gave me that name." and i believe that to be real, you see i have a friend who trains tech support people in india and when given a list of names to pick from that "sound american" he asks the trainees to go home and have their parents pick the name - because when they say, "my parents gave me that name" they are being "real."

in this is also the idea of living with "broken promises." on symantec's end, that came when i was promised phone calls at certain times and they never came, not that they came a few minutes later - they never came at all.

i think the church does this in many ways, as symantec has problems with being real, so does the church. we tend to hide who we are, but, being incarnational means we are real, we are who we are and we accept that people either like us for that or not. there is no need to hide who we are when we are incarnational. being incarnational means that being honest is a core to who you are as a person of faith. it shows that when you say "yes" you mean yes, and when you say "no" it is no

when you are real in the church people trust you, they count on you; you do not make promise that can not be kept. too many people in the church are not honest - trust is down because promise' have been broken and i believe the only way to bring it up is to just stand firm on the honest issue. as it seems that honesty is not part of the fabric of symantec, we find that honestly is not part of the fabric of the church. but, when we are incarnational we thrive on living in the light of honesty.

listening:
man, i hate it when i am not being heard. sure, some listen, but i mean being heard. having someone know the issue and seek to solve it; not someone who repeats everything you say and still not understand what you are talking about. when i first called symantec i was given a "case number" that was suppose to help if i ever had the need to call back on the issue. well, every time i spoke with a person, and every time i sent an email out - i put out the case number; because that is what i was told to do. none of the people connected saw the need to read what was said before, and every single one - without exception - asked that i explain what happened, again. i was talking but no one was listening.

being incarnational means we live life hearing the words of others; we truly listen. we listen, we express emotions and we truly desire to be part of the conversation. we interact based on the conversation and not on what one wants to talk about. in too many dying churches the core reason people tell me they are leaving is because they believe no one is listening to them. just like companies that do not listen will soon die and be replaced with companies that hear the words - so it will be with churches,

being connected:
as i strive to get this darn thing out of my system, i called every number symantec has [and even emailed them] and no one would, or could, help. it seems that all numbers lead to a one call center and no one there could get any higher - there is no way to connect with people in the organization that make decisions - it is a very disconnected place. no matter how i tried, i could not get a single person to connect with me and help with the issue. it was worse then being ignored; it was being ignored and hearing everyone say, "we do apologize for this, but..."

to be incarnational one must be connected to others, and never hide. i am amazed at the people who think they are so important that they need to place layers of people between them and others. this layering does not allow for connections. in fact, i believe if a person is so removed from what people are needing, they lose the ability to know the hearts of the people they serve. in the church today, people use the excuse that "we are still human" as an excuse to hurt, ignore and disconnect from others.

change:
like symantec will not change based on one little blog, or one little customer, the church will not change for one [actually a very large group] group of people who are striving for the incarnational living. but to be incarnational one must be willing to change and "go with he flow."

just as i have decided to never use a symantec product again because of this experiences i wonder how many people refuse to attend a church because of past "symantec experiences?" in a world were smiles are not found and "no, we can not do that" will kill business we need to open our hearts and minds and be far more missional in our walk.


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1 comment:

Mike O said...

Sort of like going to a fish market, paying for a few pounds of fish, having the merchant wrap it, and then asking:

"Say, instead of handing me the fish, can you toss it my way, so I can tell my wife I caught this fish!"